The LHS community mourned the death of recently-retired English teacher, Ms. Karla Drake in August.
“Ms. Drake was the type of person that didn’t wait for retirement to tackle a bucket list,” Ms. Jessica Moore said. Whether it was sailing in Cape Cod, having a rooftop dinner in New York City, or traveling the world, Ms. Drake possessed a youthful vivacity throughout her life.
Mr. Mark Staples agreed and said, “She was a very good old person. What I mean by that is a lot of old people get stuck in their ways, and they don’t do anything new but she always was looking for new things to do.”
Her activities ranged from skiing in Utah and 30-mile bike rides to getting involved in Asian studies and reading. Even when faced with major issues, Ms. Drake never stopped living her life. She maintained a strong relationship with both her daughters, one living in India and the other in France, and would visit them frequently. While she started her career in the Bronx teaching English and German, Ms. Drake moved to North Hampton when she met her late husband, Mr. David Drake, and took a job at LHS in 2001 as an English teacher.
Both inside and outside of LHS, Ms. Drake was a vibrant presence. Chloe Wray, a previous LHS student that was close with Ms. Drake, recalled, “There’s so much to love about Ms. Drake. Her energy is so infectious. She always coordinated and planned her outfits with jewelry and colors. Even if you didn’t talk to her, seeing her in the hallway just gave so much energy.”
Ms. Drake was the type of person that could make anyone laugh, and as Doc Eric Howard said, “She just really makes you appreciate life. We went down to NYC one weekend and she called it her ‘forced march.’ We’d just go and wander all around the city.”
Along with her gravitating presence and personality, Ms. Drake had a unique passion for her job. Whether it was dramatic readings or using costumes, she always brought unique aspects to even the most rigorous classes. Ms. Drake would stay in contact with students she had as far back as 20 years ago, and stayed up late working tirelessly on recommendation letters, perfecting and personalizing each one. Her love for her job and her students was evident, as Wray stated: “She loved what she did and she made it unique in the class. Her energy, her attention to the individual, and her desire for every single one of her students to succeed whether it be in the classroom or after they left.”
Unfortunately, Ms. Drake didn’t get to enjoy the lavish retirement party she wanted due to COVID restrictions, and soon after the pandemic hit she was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue and throat cancer. All of the teachers, specifically the English department, were very close with her. Ms. Moore said, “We were all sad because we couldn’t say goodbye to her because of COVID and because she was ill.” Despite this, Ms. Drake’s impact still remains, Mr. Mark Cormier says, “She loved people and that kind of impact is the most important; that she loved her students, friends, and colleagues, she certainly loved her family.”